Ex Libris: The Eyes Of Madness presents “Simple reviews from a simple reader…”
“Stone stood against the side wall of the gym, smoking a cigarette. It was late, nearly midnight. He could see the purple strip of sky over the alley, a fat, white moon floating within a pinkish haze. Across the alley, a door creaked open in the side wall of Warden’s grocery store. A figure slipped out and started toward him.”
City stands in the irradiated dunes of America, nearly two centuries after the Final War. The wall surrounding it is a buffer for the wasteland inhabitants who covet entrance, and a trap for the citizens smothering in its polluted air and drowning in its blood-filled streets. Stone is a criminal for hire. Robbed of his loved ones and scarred almost beyond recognition, he navigates City’s darkest corners, doing some of its darkest deeds. In this collection, he’ll pursue an elusive thief, bent on raising an army of juiced up mutants. He’ll break into the office building of a mysterious corporation, only to find the executives are less into sending faxes and more into performing hexes. In the final chapter, he’ll track a man through the Alleys of South City with the help of his tech savvy partner, Megan, and together they’ll face the sentient darkness of City’s deepest underbelly, and confront the violent potential of City’s most dangerous cults. Part Blade Runner. Part Sin City. Stone Work is an action-packed ride through the rain-slicked streets of a dark, unforgiving urban landscape, rife with sadistic criminals, inter-dimensional abominations, and a creeping darkness that seeks to erase the last, now almost mythical traces of human goodness left in a world always teetering over the edge of its own extinction.
“‘What’ll it cost me?’ Stone said.
‘How much it worth?’
‘Depends on whether the yuppie’s alive.’
‘How should I know?’
‘I’ll let you know,’ Stone said. ‘Tell me which way he went, and if he’s alive I’ll give you a piece of this score I’m working on.’
‘That’d be sweet of you,’ Kroger said. ‘Don’t suppose you’d mind crossing your heart, that way I know you mean it.’”
Who is Stone? What is he about? Where does he come from?
More importantly, what is the state of the world?
Like a Tarantino film, we are dropped into the life of a character in the middle of his journey. As if we are old friends, and Stone’s history before page one is, well, history. Something that we should be well versed in, with page one starting the next chapter in Stone’s seemingly harsh and brutal life in an equally vicious and unforgiving landscape. And with page one this book leaps into action at a pace meant to break your neck. No rest for the weary or wicked. Also not much other than a few hints and whispers about how we came to be here, at this moment in Stone’s life. You actually get a (slightly) firmer grasp regarding the how’s and the why’s of this brave new world from the synopsis than you do from the read itself, which I read after the book itself.
This is my first read from Dominic Stabile and it is an enjoyable read, and from what I can tell Stone Work is the first Stone book although it reads like there is an origin story somewhere that I’ve missed. Stone work is collection of sorts, a gathering of novellas. We get three vignette’s from the gun-for-hire/ opportunist/ equalizer and his techie partner Girly… I mean Megan. Dominic is very adept at a run-and-gun writing style, keeping a near constant amped-up pace maintained through to the end. All of the characters involved are interesting, exciting, and they stand out well from each other. Distinctive personalities with different roles to fill. Megan is the smooth tech counterpoint to Stone’s jagged bluntness and the rogues gallery they cross in these tales are all equally charming in their own, sometimes grotesque, way. As for the dialog, which you should know by now can be a deal breaker for me, is crisp and fun. The dialog flows naturally. The characters speak to one another rather than regurgitate cliched words to propel the story. Stone is a man of few words, but he has a gruff personality trying to break free.
My favorite overall character in the book is Bjor, the leader of the Walforg Church. He personifies the changes to the new landscape, a throwback personality that is a stark contrast to the remainder of the book that leans more toward a futuristic dystopia.
If there are more tales of Stone, I’d like to find them. If there are more yarns concerning the world the book is set in, I NEED to make contact with them. I have questions. The events leading up to the point where this book kicks off seems like a very interesting story, as does the origin of Stone himself. I desperately want to know more. Suffice to say I am on board for more Dominic Stabile.
“Stone grinned. He felt a second wind coming on. ‘Then lead the way, Churchy.’”
Overall score: 4.5/5
Zakk is a big dumb animal!
**Note: I received a review copy from the publisher/ publicist on the promise of an honest review. These are my unbiased feelings.
About the Author:
Dominic Stabile lives in Penobscot, Maine. His short fiction has appeared in The Horror Zine, Sanitarium Magazine, Atticus Review, Hellfire Crossroads Vol. 3, Cyclopean #1, Fossil Lake III: Unicornado! and was adapted as an audio drama by Manor House Productions. His Punk Noir Bizarro Thriller, Stone Work, was released in 2016 by Mirror Matter Press. A follow-up novel, Death Central, is set to be published by MMP in 2017. His Weird Western, “Full Moon in the West,” will be released by Grinning Skull Press in 2016. Check out his website at dominicstabile.com.
Praise for Dominic Stabile
“With Whiskey for Breakfast, Dominic Stabile provides a page turning mystery that kept me guessing as to who the real killers might be.” – Brenda Casto, Readersfavorite.com
Want to Feature Dominic Stabile?
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